My college roommate (of bourbon pear apple sauce fame) made the simplest, fastest version of this recipe for me the day I arrived to visit her in Paris for the first time, jetlagged and starving, farther from home than I'd ever been. She plunked a bowl down in front of me of just-boiled pasta, tossed with egg and cheese. It was a revelation--something new, yet familiar and comforting. It was precisely the right way to start off my first (semi) grown up travel in a foreign land.
As we all know, however, bacon makes everything better. This iteration of the dish, called by its right name, spaghetti carbonara, is bacon and eggs on pasta. In the spirit of my roommate, I tolerate no fripperies here. Cream? No. Red pepper flakes? No. Even pancetta is too much for me--it's better with American-style salty pig bits. Just pasta slicked in bacon grease and egg yolk. You know you love it.
Start water boiling for pasta.
In a large skillet, fry:
5 slices of bacon, cut into half inch pieces (or however many slices you have left in the package--this is flexible)
1 whole clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
When the bacon is very crisp, remove the pieces from the pan with a slotted spoon. I know it seems fussy, but it's totally worth it for crispy bacon at the end.
While the pan is still hot, splash in:
2 Tablespoons vermouth, white white, or similar (optional)
After the booze bubbles off, turn the heat off and leave the pan sitting on the burner.
Meanwhile, beat together:
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or similar
lots of fresh ground black pepper
I always do this in a Pyrex measuring cup, for ease of pouring later.
Cook 1 pound of spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain. Dump the pasta into the bacon grease pan and turn until the strands are coated. Then slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg and melt the cheese.
Sprinkle with fresh herbs for pretty if you have guests. If you don't have guests, eating leftovers for breakfast is legit: It's bacon and eggs!